While the architecture industry has recently been given a bad rap for its post-degree employment record, the web-based DiscoverDesign tool has been launched to get teens using sustainable architectural design methods to solve real world problems.
"Through project-based learning and social networking, students can learn about architecture and develop important life and work skills," says a press release.
The project-based learning tool has been developed by the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), and to mark its launch, the organization has announced a design competition for all schools and students.
The CAF sponsored national design competition will task students to redesign their high school cafeteria for healthy eating in a sustainable space.
Working alongside established curricula, any schools can participate in the DiscoverDesign competition.
Jennifer Masengarb, Senior Manager of Educational Research at CAF, said:
"DiscoverDesign.org takes students through the entire design process – from initial ideas, to sketches to final plan, strengthening their skills in design, science, green technology, critical thinking, engineering and math.
"It's rigorous, relevant, 21st century learning that connects students to architecture professionals."
DiscoverDesign was created to help students harness architecturally-relevant skills like how to investigate, brainstorm, collaborate, and solve real design challenges as they redesign various components of their own high school – from the lockers to the cafeteria to the entire building.
Students can then upload their own digital models, sketches and photos to the site and receive feedback from their teachers and peers. Students will also be able to receive feedback from architects, engineers and design professionals from around the world.
Ron Bogle, President and CEO of the American Architectural Foundation, said:
"DiscoverDesign.org is a marvelous new tool for students and educators across the country who are committed to exploring sustainable design through real-world challenges.
"As a founding partner with CAF of the Architecture and Design Education Network, this initiative directly aligns with our goal of promoting design education for K-12 students."
Beverly Meek, vice president, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, said:
"Bringing creativity and innovation to education is one of our focus areas.
"The DiscoverDesign.org project demonstrates the power and impact technology brings to education. We're proud to partner with the Chicago Architecture Foundation in support of this inventive work."